DJ Carey’s IT Carlow are through to the Fitzgibbon Cup semi finals after a fantastic display of hurling to upset last year’s finalists UL this afternoon on a score line of 4-16 to 0-23.
UL started well with a point each coming from dual player Gearoid Hegarty, David Gleeson and a brilliant score from the 65 from a free by Jason Forde.
Within minutes IT Carlow cancelled this out with a point and an absolutely suburb goal by Martin Kavanagh who’s shot went flying past UL keeper David McCarthy.
UL had their first goal chance in the 6th minute when former Hurler of the Year Tony Kelly made a brilliant run from centre field but his shot was deflected by the IT Carlow goalkeeper Enda Rowland.
IT Carlow got their first goal of the match when in the 8th minute Mark Rowland made a brilliant catch along the forward line and blasted his goal into the net.
Within 30 seconds they got their second goal from another fantastic strike by Waterford’s Jack Fagan to put his team 3-02 to 0-05 up in the first 10 minutes.
UL responded to the opening shock with points from Kelly and Hegarty and a brilliant score by Clare man David Fitzgerald from just outside the 45-metre line.
An exchange of points then ensued with UL’s scores coming through Fitzgerald and Tipperary’s John McGrath and points for IT Carlow by full forward Stephen Maher and Kavanagh making the scores 3-07 to 0-12 points to the Carlow College at half time.
IT Carlow came out for the second half with one thing on their mind – not letting UL get a foothold back in the tie – and tacked on further points to the scoreboard.
In the 31st minute Mark Russell for IT Carlow hit a brilliant point straight over the bar from a tricky angle in the left hand corner.
UL turned around and forged two brilliant points in response from McGrath and a tremendous point from far out by Kelly who was having brilliant game.
The Limerick College got their second goal chance in the 37th minute when Carlow keeper Rowland saved Tom Morrissey’s shot superbly.
After a poor clearance UL notched two further scores from forward Michael Mullins and McGrath.
UL built up more momentum after this score and got a penalty in the 45th minute when McGrath was taken down just inside the 21-metre line. McGrath took the safer option by hitting the ball over the bar. He also hit a point over minutes later to level the teams 3-10 to 0-19 points.
There was nothing UL could do when IT Carlow got their 4th and final goal of the game when Chris Bolger made a brilliant run and hit a sublime shot straight into the back of UL’s net.
UL came back and got a score in the dying stages of the match but it was IT Carlow’s day and they thoroughly deserved it. The match finished with IT Carlow beating UL by 4 points.
The old adage of goals win games was never truer than in this case and IT Carlow got the crucial score when it counted. UL were always playing catch up and could never get in front of their opponents.
Hindsight is always 20/20 but McGrath’s failure to yield a green flag from the penalty was indicative of a UL display that lacked a killer instinct throughout.
IT Carlow will now play UCC in their Fitzgibbon Cup semi final on February 24th in GMIT and we can guarantee that this will be an absolute cracker after the game they played today.
For UL it’s back to the drawing board for next year and another crack at this prestigious trophy.
Player of the Match: UL had many strong contenders such as Tony Kelly, Jason Forde, and David Fitzgerald who were all suburb for the wolves all afternoon. For IT Carlow Mark Russell, Waterford Senior Colin Dunford and Kevin Hannafin were also brilliant but we’re going to go with half forward Martin Kavanagh for IT Carlow as our man of the match. He was simply fantastic for the 62 minutes played, scoring exceptional scores for his team and working hard as well. A well deserved title for the Carlow man.
UL: David Mc Carthy, Michael Casey, Brian Troy, Liam O’Connor, Barry Heffernan, Jason Forde, David Fitzgerald, Tony Kelly, Aidan McGuane, Tom Morrissey, Kevin Hehir, Gearoid Hegarty, David Gleeson, Michael Mullins, John Mc Grath. Subs: Barry Nash, Lorcan Lyons, Gearoid Ryan.
IT Carlow: Enda Rowland, Dwayne Palmer, Kevin Hannafin, Ross Brown, Robert Moran, Damien Healy, Dale O’Hanlon, James Doyle, Colin Dunford, Charles Dwyer, Mark Russell, Martin Kavanagh, Jack Fagan, Stephan Maher, Chris Bolger. Subs: Tommy Gallagher, Michael O’Hanrahan, Michael Redmond, Shane Phelan.